Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Women’s Health magazine last night announced Australian Olympic Cyclist, Anna Meares as the 2012 Women’s Health Sports Woman of the Year

After 10 months of nominations and votes by Women's Health readers, Anna took out the top honour.

Accepting her award, the gold medallist, 29, said, “I am blown away by the votes I received to win this award. It shows me that I have been able to reach so many people through both my actions and my words and by doing that I know I’ve done a good job. Thank you so much. I really appreciate this award.”

Attended by a leading line-up of renowned Australian sporting identities at Paddington Town Hall, the awards celebrated and honoured the achievements of Australian sportswomen.

Felicity Harley, editor of Women’s Health, said, “The Women’s Health I Support Women In Sport Awards are dedicated to recognising the efforts of Australia’s outstanding sportswomen – from professional to grassroots levels – who are leaders in their field of sport.”

Harley said Meares embodies the I Support Women In Sport Awards ethos in its entirety.

“Anna’s determination and commitment for her sport – and her amazing achievement as twice world champion and gold medallist in cycling – validates why she won the title of Sports Woman of the Year.”

The Hon. Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia delivered a message via video correspondence.

“What a year it’s been. Every Nation at the Olympics fielding female competitors for the first time in history. Lauren Jackson holding our flag high. But with the highs, some lows; elite sportswomen flying economy while the men stretched out in business... Women securing just 10 per cent of sports coverage.”

“The I Support Women in Sport Awards are a loud, proud challenge to this status quo, a bid to make the names of our sportswomen household names. Today I announce the creation of a very special award category, honouring outstanding achievement – The Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence.”

The Prime Minister, represented by Minister for Sport Kate Lundy, awarded Paralympian - and eight time gold medalist - Jacqueline Freney with the Award for Excellence. She described Jacqueline as, "A star in the making, a star of her own making, thrilling in action, inspirational in her determination, a true Australian champion.”

Dawn Fraser then lead a standing ovation after Jacqueline Freney delivered an eloquent acceptance speech.

Click the photo for a gallery from the night

Dawn Fraser and Kate Lundy

Other category winners include:

Women’s Health Sports Woman of the Year – ANNA MEARES, 29, QLD, Cycling
Prime Minister’s Women in Sport Award – JACQUELINE FRENEY, 20, QLD, Paralympic Swimmer
The One to Watch – BRITTANY BROBEN, 17, QLD, Diving
Service to the Sport – LEISEL JONES, 27, QLD, Swimming
Fair Fighter – BRIDIE KEAN, 25, QLD, Wheelchair Basketball
Local Heroine – JULIE HOFFMAN, 42, VIC, Burpee Champion
Leadership Legend – LAUREN JACKSON, 32, NSW, Basketball
Moment of the Year – SALLY PEARSON, 26, QLD, Winning Olympic Gold
Woman of Sporting Words – GIAAN ROONEY, 30, QLD, Channel Nine
A-Team of the Year – MELBOURNE VIXENS, Netball